The most valuable brands, not just in Germany but around the world, are those that stand out from the crowd in a way that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. It’s really that simple, and we call it having Meaningful Difference.
Meaningful Difference doesn’t just get a brand recognized or remembered, it adds to the bottom line. Among the German Top 50 Most Valuable Brands this year, the brands that have a high score on the BrandZ Meaningful Difference scale are worth almost three times as much as those with a low score (an average brand value for the high scorers of US$8,630 million, compared to $2,847 million for the low scorers).
So, how can the low scorers become high scorers on Meaningful Difference? Just as there are many contributors to human wellbeing, there are multiple factors that contribute towards a healthy brand. BrandZ analysis has identified five key attributes shared by healthy, strong and valuable brands.
It starts with having a purpose (making people’s lives better).
DHL, Lufthansa and Miele are among the German brands with an especially strong sense of purpose.
Brands must be innovative ideally in a way that underlines that purpose, which means they’re seen as leading the way in their sector and shaking things up.
Nivea, Deutsche Telekom and Aldi shine in this area.
They must also be creative, with powerful, memorable advertising and communications.
Think here of Edeka, Beck’s and Lidl.
They provide a great brand experience that meets consumers’ needs, and is available when and where consumers need it.
Deutsche Post, Sparkasse and Rewe are great at providing a memorable brand experience.
Over time, consumers develop a strong sense of love towards the brand.
Consumers feel a strong emotional attachment to brands such as DHL, Lufthansa and Aldi.
When a brand is strong on all five of these attributes (scoring significantly above average), they have healthy “vital signs” and we say they’re healthy brands overall. We combine scores on each of the five elements into a single “Vitality Quotient”, or vQ score.
If a brand is lacking in any one area, they are at risk of damaging their brand health and underperforming in the market. If they fail on all five measures (a score of 99 or less compared to an average score for all brands of 100), they are classed as being “frail”.
Germany’s Top 50 brands are, on the whole, looking full of vigor. They have an average vQ score of 109, which makes them stronger than 85 percent of all other German brands. This health premium stacks up well against the most valuable brands in other markets. The average vQ score of leading brands in the Netherlands and Spain is 106; in the UK, it’s 108; in France 110, Italy 111 and the United States 113.
Leaders of the pack
DHL, Nivea and Lufthansa are all among the Top 10 brands in the ranking on all five aspects of brand health. When you think about what these brands have in common, it becomes possible to feel more intuitively what the BrandZ data is telling us.
All three brands operate in highly competitive sectors. Yet in many people’s minds, they stand apart from the rest – and not just because they are long-standing and trusted brands, nor because they are home-grown.
Lufthansa is a premium brand in an increasingly price-focused category, but Nivea and DHL are not; a high price tag is not what makes a brand healthy. What unites these brands starts with their focus on a mission that has led them since they began.
For DHL that’s about simplifying consumers’ lives, while for Lufthansa, it’s making travel special for individuals. They are all innovative, adapting their offer to changing consumer demands. They communicate their distinctive style and their innovations clearly and consistently – the “Excellence. Simply Delivered” tagline clearly sums up DHL’s mission – lived out in the brand experience.
Spotlight on PURPOSE
REWE’s focus on sustainability is reflected in changes to the products the supermarket chain is offering. It is set to expand its range of sustainable fruit juices by switching to exclusively certified organic orange juice by the end of 2025, becoming the first food retailer in Germany to sell exclusively certified organic orange juices. Certified pineapple juices are already available at REWE. Around 60 percent of the private label juices sold by REWE and its discount sister supermarket Penny are either Rainforest Alliance certified or have been awarded the EU Bio-Label.
Spotlight on INNOVATION
DHL is working with Ford to manufacture electric delivery vans called StreetScooters. Its Deliver Future pilot project is also revolutionizing the delivery of medicines to remote areas using drones; trials have seen the autonomous DHL Parcelcopter 4.0 complete a 60km flight. The brand is also investigating the potential for driverless trucks in some markets.
Spotlight on COMMUNICATION
The car rental category is one that most people aren’t interested in until they need it, and then they compare largely on price. Sixt is using its communications to get beyond that, and is known for consistently using cheeky, timely ads to show the value of its services. When a German government minister took her office car on a trip to Spain and had it stolen, Sixt billboards shouted “There’s Sixt in Alicante! From €29 per day including theft insurance”.
Spotlight on EXPERIENCE
The L&T shopping mall in Osnabrück is going all out to give shoppers a memorable experience, with a surf wave pool now installed in the basement and a high-tech gym and open-air cinema also in the works. Not all great brand experiences need to be quite so headline-grabbing, though. Lufthansa’s FlyNet WiFi in the air, and its focus on safety and a pleasant journey, help it rank among the best German brands for experience.
Spotlight on LOVE
Banking isn’t usually a category that gets a lot of love, but Sparkasse is one of the most-loved brands in the country, thanks to its mission to make banking simple – through new digital products – and its focus on the personal touch. Sparkassen around the country are independently managed, so can focus on the needs of their local customers. Their 2018 campaign “Gemeinsam allem gewachsen” campaign (“Together we can do anything”) neatly sums this up.